MR need not hold onto office - SLPP

MPs Gamini Lokuge, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Sudarshani Fernandopulle. Picture by Wasitha Patabendige

Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna MP Gamini Lokuge said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa took on the Premiership at a difficult time in Sri Lanka’s history only because he wanted to do something for its people and has no desire to hold onto office by force.

“We have utmost respect for the judiciary and will accept any decision or order given by the courts,” he said. “We don’t need to hold onto power by force.

We are in fact calling on all political parties to allow the people of this country to make their own choice. Let people have their say.”

MP Lokuge said they were appalled at how Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was conducting parliamentary proceedings. “This is a prorogued parliament and it remains so. Even attending the sitting might be unlawful. If court determines that it is, then there is no use in any of the No Confidence Motions (NCMs) that have been passed thus far. We call on him to act with restraint and remain neutral, as he should be.”

The MP said that the SLPP had no qualms about an NCM in parliament but added that there were parliamentary procedures to be following including holding a party leaders meeting and including it in the Standing Orders.

MP Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the only way out of this crisis was to call for an election. “The President has repeatedly said that even if all MPs in parliament ask in writing that Ranil Wickremasinghe be appointed PM, he will not make that call,” he said. “When the President is very clear about his intentions, which he has expressed several times, it is only pragmatic that he chose a premier who he is able to work along with.”

He said that he felt disappointed that he too was a signatory for the 19th Amendment. “When we voted for it, we believed that it would strengthen and empower the independent bodies and commissions that were to be set up under the amendment. We didn’t think that it would plunge the country in to chaos and anarchy. We are dismayed that this bill which we voted for has created such a mess.”

MP S.M. Chandrasena charged that in 2007, the JVP faction went and sat in the Opposition, the ruling government at the time did not obtain the majority. However the Speaker at the time W.J.M Lokubandara did not act arbitrarily. “It took us two months to get those numbers again and the speaker at the time acted in a very dignified manner even through he too represented another party,” MP Chandrasena said.

MP Sudarshani Fernandopulle speaking at the press conference held at the SLPP said the brutal murder of two police officers in Batticaloa was a harbinger of things to come. “The LTTE surfaced with the attacks on police officers.I was schooling at the time the incident was reported but to-date we all know of it, because it signified the start of the this separatist war. These brutal murders of the two police officers are tell-tale signs that terrorism is on the rise.”

She added that her family had paid dearly with the loss of her husband Jeyaraj Fernandopulle killed in an LTTE suicide attack. “During the times that Ranil Wickremasinghe served as a premier, not only were foreign powers embolden enough to interfere in matters sovereign to this country but terrorists used those opportunities to cause harm,” she said. “If Ranil Wickremesinghe had been in the government in 2009, we would not have been able to end this senseless war.”

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